Day Trips: Three Roll Estate Distillery
Local rum returns to the land of sugar plantations
Three Roll Estate distillery in Baton Rouge has brought back the historic production of rum to Louisiana.
For centuries, the American South supplied the juice that fueled American rum distilleries. As sugar cane production moved offshore, fewer distilleries used American sugar cane juice. The Baton Rouge distillery has joined with a local sugar mill to produce a homegrown spirit that is winning taste tests with consumers and the industry.
"Our relationship with Alma Sugar Mill in Pointe Coupee Parish gives us access to the best sugar and molasses," says Gene Salem, operations engineer with Three Roll Estate. A member of the family that owns the mill is also a partner in the distillery. The distillery's name comes from the process used to squeeze the juice from the sugar cane, Salem says.
The distillery on the south side of downtown produces six varieties of rum and a vodka. Their products are available for testing before purchasing in the tasting room. The spirits are distilled in two pot stills they named Sweet Jane and Evangeline. The high-octane liquid is then aged in 4,000-gallon wooden cognac vats purchased in France.
One of the distillery's more unique products is rhum agricole. Made with fresh sugar cane juice, the clear rum has a more complex flavor than most white rums. Served over ice, the earthy notes shine. The drink is popular in the French West Indies where it is made with cane juice instead of molasses like traditional rum.
Three Roll Estate's tasting room is at 760 Saint Philip St. in Baton Rouge, La., and is open Thursday through Sunday. Distillery tours must be scheduled in advance at www.three-roll.com.
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